Before this spring’s NFL draft, there was a lot of buzz about the top available quarterbacks.
Mitch Trubisky of North Carolina was at the top of most scouts’ lists, and he indeed was the first one off the board, taken by the Chicago Bears with the second overall pick. Clemson’s Deshaun Watson, Texas Tech’s Pat Mahomes and Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer were considered the best of the rest of the bunch.
One talent evaluator, however, wasn’t interested in any of those top four. Kyle Shanahan, the 49ers’ new head coach, was much more interested in Iowa’s C.J. Beathard. Beathard didn’t get the accolades of the other passers in the draft, but Shanahan loved a lot about the 6-foot-2, 219-pounder who just happens to be the grandson of former NFL executive Bobby Beathard.
So when the 49ers had a chance to get him in the third round, they did. General manager John Lynch made a deal to get the 104th overall choice and took Beathard.
According to Peter King of Sports Illustrated’s Monday Morning Quarterback – who was with the 49ers during the draft to document their three-day process – Shanahan admired Beathard’s toughness at Iowa, as well as his productivity. Over his final two seasons at Iowa, Beathard threw for nearly 5,000 yards, with 34 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. He had a passer rating of 129.8 for his college career.
“He processes the game so well,” Shanahan said at the time he drafted Beathard, according to King. Shanahan also noted Beathard reminds him of Kirk Cousins, the quarterback he coached as offensive coordinator at Washington.
As the 49ers get ready to open training camp later this month, however, the chances of Beathard playing as a rookie are slim. In front of him are two veterans, projected starter Brian Hoyer, and Matt Barkley.
But if Beathard can show Shanahan he can grasp the speed of the game and read defenses, he certainly could open the door to playing in 2018.
Already, the 49ers like what they see of Beathard and his potential.
“He’s done a nice job,” quarterbacks coach Rich Scangarello recently told Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group. “Everything we possibly could have asked of the guy, he’s embraced it. He definitely has a confidence that comes from within ... in a very positive way.”
Players are due to report to 49ers training camp July 27.